How we would do it
Lewes Phoenix Rising is a development company set up by local people to ensure that imminent redevelopment of the North Street/Phoenix area of Lewes, East Sussex meets the real needs of the town. We are saying YES to development, but let’s do it brilliantly.
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Why are we fighting it?
1. The need for genuinely affordable housing – The affordable housing in Santon/LDC’s plan is vague and inadequate. We fear it won’t provide the homes Lewes most desperately requires. LDC’s own housing needs assessment of 2014 states that no part of Lewes District is affordable to people on low incomes unless available at social rent levels (43% of market rent).
2. The need to keep enterprise in Lewes – The site currently supports around 450 jobs and 50 businesses. The Santon/LDC scheme does not provide the basic affordable workspace required to keep and grow this unique interconnected economic cluster of small independents in manufacturing, making, creative and social enterprise. At present they occupy over 10,027m², the Santon plan provides 1,165m² of cultural/creative space, of which only 300m² is workshops.
3. The need to protect local businesses and services – Larger firms have been expected to relocate to the proposed Malling Brooks Industrial Park (also owned by Santon). But the lease terms offered have priced out many local Lewes businesses, including North Street Garage, Furniture Now and Compass Travel, our rural bus service.
3. The need to keep Lewes unique – Lewes is a historic town in the heart of the South Downs National Park. Rather than a 15-acre clone-town suburb, we want an innovative and vibrant development that enriches the town’s economy and is worthy of a National Park.
So, what are we doing about it?
An alternative plan – Working with a national team of architects and consultants, we’ve created a Masterplan for the whole site. This shows that:
- A further 49 genuinely affordable homes and live-work units can be built on the site in addition to the 40% ‘affordable’ included in the 415 proposed homes
- We can save and renovate the heritage buildings of the Phoenix Ironworks to provide extensive workspace and an exciting place to visit
- This can all be done by building close-knit, smaller homes in keeping with the historic town centre and creating a more sustainable, neighbourly and walkable environment
- Co-operative discussion – We are keen to work with Lewes District Council and Santon, who jointly own the site, and we seek a mutually acceptable solution that will deliver genuinely affordable homes and substantial workspace in addition to their requirements for value for land and developer profit. We have now entered the pre-application process with our plan, to show Santon, LDC and the SDNPA how this can be done
- Community consultation – Through roadshows, surveys and regular communications to our 1,600+ signatories, we’re creating a platform to enable local people to say what they want to see and help shape our plans.
How can you help?
- Sign up – Become a Lewes Phoenix Rising signatory to show your support and keep in touch with what’s happening.
- Donate – Make a one-off or regular contribution to support our campaigning work – it’s easy to do by PayPal or credit card. Better still use our Localgiving page and we can benefit from Gift Aid and occasional doubling of donations.
- Get involved – We’re always looking for help and feedback. Whether you know about development or can help stuff envelopes, email us at lewesphoenixrising.com
- Get campaigning – Forward a link to our website to your friends and tell them what’s happening. Write to your district councillor, the South Downs National Park or the Sussex Express. Most important, respond to the Santon/LDC plan at http://southdowns.gov.uk/planning/planning-applications/north-street-quarter-lewes (ref: SDNP/15/01146/FUL) or email email@example.com (quoting ref above)